Top Five Cookbooks

saffronbunny_food_journalism_CornwallI recently wrote a piece on staying away from cookbooks on the basis that they are just neglected wall candy. Some however, have been transformational and instructive on my food blogging journey, such as Michael Pollan’s Cooked. Here are my top five Cornish and West Country cookbooks:

West Country Cook Book

Food photographer David Griffen brings nearly a decade of food photography working with some of the finest chefs in the region under one title. Stunning images feature alongside achievable Michelin-star inspired recipes, some of the highlights being Nathan Outlaw’s Cornish Rarebit with Doom Bar Beer, Paul Ainsworth’s Sticky Cornish Fudge Pudding with clotted cream, Neil Haydock’s Venison Stew with Potato Dumplings and Chris Eden’s Traditional Cornish Pasty with Sweet and Savoury Filling.

David states that, “The idea for the book came from watching the chefs working together at festivals and demonstrations; in quiet moments backstage they were talking as a group and to each other, sharing ideas and experiences – there was a real sense of mutual support.”

The New West Country Cook Book can be ordered  from and will be available in shops with an RRP of £20. Follow the book on Twitter @thenewcookbook. To win your own copy, simply subscribe to the saffronbunny blog or leave a comment on this post.

What else to read:

The Great Cornish Food Book

A compendium of food history, anecdotes, producer profiles, top tips and recipes that is more scrapbook than traditional cookbook. A great addition to any coffee table and definitely one for the Cornish foodie in your life.

Nathan Outlaw writes the foreword and the book’s author Ruth Huxley (Founder and Director of Cornwall Food & Drink), outlines the ethos of the publication as a ‘celebration of the achievements of farmers, fishermen, butchers and bakers, cider makers and cheese makers, chefs and shopkeepers’ working backstage to make the county one of the foremost food destinations in the country and arguably, the world.

Available to order from for just £17.99 (includes all postage and packaging).

Under a Mackerel Sky: A Memoir by Rick Stein

‘All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.’

The story of Padstow’s transformation into one of the most sought-after culinary destinations in the country is well-known; the story of the man that did it, is not.

Under A Mackerel Sky is an intimate insight into Rick Stein’s life: happy childhood memories of holidays in Cornwall fishing for wrasse and pollack, coupled with the difficulties of coping with a bi-polar father. The book charts his life and career from failed nightclub owner to restaurateur, food broadcaster and writer.

Signed copies of the book are available from priced £20 and it is also available as an audio book on iTunes and Audible. Listen to an extract and an interview with Rick about the book on Soundcloud.

Porthminster Beach Café – The Cook Book

With a foreword from Nathan Outlaw and an endorsement from Heston Blumenthal, The Porthminster Cook Book has been an eagerly awaited publication. The book not only includes signature café recipes from Michael Smith but also guides to foraging in and around the café’s beach location.

Heston Blumenthal describes the café as: “a favourite holiday eating spot of mine,” in a “ gorgeous location” and praises the book’s “inventive cooking.” Cornish ingredients get an exotic makeover in Asian, Mediterranean and Aussie-inspired dishes from a Cornish dashi broth using local mackerel to sweet and sour mussels and Aussie-inspired fish and chips.

The book is available at the restaurant and online at at £18.95 (plus p &p).

The Chough Bakery Recipe Book

Read about the family behind the highly successful and enterprising Chough Bakery in Padstow who featured on BBC2’s The Fixer with Alex Polizzi. The book celebrates and reflects on 25 years of baking in one of Cornwall’s most famous harbour towns. Elaine shares the baking secrets and recipes that have made the shop the success it is today.

From the classic Cornish pasty (including how to crimp) to bacon and egg pie, saffron buns and cakes and traditional Cornish splits, this is an authentic collection of some of our most famous treats and staples. So popular are the pasties that the family now run an online postal service delivering boxes of pasties and kits for cream teas all over the country!

Buy now for £7.50 from



4 thoughts on “Top Five Cookbooks

  1. I would love to win a copy of David Griffen’s West Country Cookbook, a unique and skillful book that showcases the fine food and amazing chefs the west country is so lucky to have.


  2. Lynn

    The Great Cornish Cookbook was a Christmas present and I enjoyed reading it, and then trying Picnic in Falmouth. I guess Jill pipped me to the post (literally), but I will definitely look out for the other books you recommended.


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